Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's The Little Things

Yours Truly and ORPO1 lounging in the VFA-2 Ready Room
Back in early April I was privileged to take a ride  on board the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) for a Family and Friends Day Cruise. Blog buddy ORPO1 hadn't been on a carrier since he retired from the Navy and was eager to go with The WSO and I.

Invitation offered. Invitation accepted.

That's how we wound up in the VFA-2 Ready Room. The lead in photo is a panoramic photo taken with my very own cell phone, then staggered so it would fit on the page. Otherwise it would look like this...

Not too bad, but it is kind of small (try viewing it on a smart phone!)

All that being said, what does that have to do with the subject of today's post?

There are things, little things, which will bring a flash of memory. Sometimes it's just a fleeting impression of something. Something just past the horizon of one's memory. It's there, but it's not. Sometimes it lingers.

Sometimes it feels like something lost and the pain of that loss, is real enough. Even if you don't know why.

Other times the memory comes and stays. Then it might blossom into a full blown reminiscence. Which can be good. We do tend to remember the good things and forget the bad. But...

Let's leave that thought. I don't want to go down that road. Not today, not after such a wonderful weekend.

On Monday it was back to work. I walked into the lab first thing in the morning and the air conditioner was actually on, it was actually cool in the lab. At that moment, I closed my eyes and the feel and smell of the air took me back to that day on the Reagan. A good memory indeed. (The only thing missing was that guy dragging a heavy chain across the deck above! Anyone who has ever done time on a carrier will know what I mean.)

With me it's most often a smell which will trigger a memory. I remember walking across a parking lot in Colorado, some scent on the breeze made me flash back to a summer morning in Vermont, when I was young. Some trick of the senses perhaps, but that smell had the effect of propelling me backwards through time. Back to when I was young and had not a care in the world. Bittersweet.

Sometimes I try to lock a moment in time in my memory. I will be someplace and be completely content, even if just for a moment. But I'll stop and savor that moment and tell myself that someday, I will pull that memory out and savor it once again.

I always have moments like that when I'm visiting the kids and the grandkids. Or when they're visiting me.

One of those moments came this past Saturday. I got up late (not an uncommon occurrence) and the rest of the tribe was keen to get some breakfast. The Missus Herself suggested this one little place near where we live. So we hopped in the car and went there. The Missus Herself, The Nuke, her man and Yours Truly. (I'm going to have to come up with a nom de plume for The Nuke's man, he's a great guy. That name just hasn't come to me yet. It will.)

'Lo and behold, we arrive at our little breakfast place and it is packed. Well, it is a holiday weekend so that's to be expected. Somewhat dejected we abandon that plan. We need another alternative. The Nuke suggests an old favorite which fell on hard times. It went through a few owners, many of whom should have not gone into the restaurant business, but was rumored to have returned to the quality it had some time ago.

This place.

Built over the water, hence the name.

You cannot beat the view, from The Wharf...

The rumors were true. The Wharf Tavern was again a great place to eat. Excellent fare, decent prices and the view is simply unbelievable. Where else can you sit down to eat and watch a pair of wild swans swim past?

Or watch the cormorants flying just above the waves?

But it wasn't just the scenery and the food, it was the people we shared the meal with. That's what made it one of those enjoyable things in life. One of those little things which can give such great joy.

If you're paying attention.

Saturday had such a moment. The sun sparkling on the water, the wind gentle but with a hint of the storm which had passed us by the day before. Four people, savoring the meal, savoring the moment.

When the swans came into view, just off the deck surrounding the restaurant, I held my breath and thought to myself, "This I shall remember."

And remember I will. Another gift to be taken out some day in the future and savored.

Memory can be both a blessing and a curse.

May your memories always be the former.


  1. Excellent pastiche, Sarge!

    A New York strip steak and mash in "The Dock", Naples...just about to take a big juicy cut when what do I hear being called across the noisy bar, but my own name! You fly 4000 miles to get away from it all and in walks a buddy from work!
    The view was not unlike your picture of The Wharf. Love those places. Something about that setting.

    1. Thanks HD.

      Nothing like the salt air and a great view to give one an appetite.

  2. Speaking of local establishments that have fallen on hard times, it looks like the Old Grist Mill will be back in action soon...

    1. That is excellent news! I have a number of fond memories of that place.

  3. Love this post; Savor those moments, and pull them up to brighten the darker times.

  4. "...many of whom should have not gone into the restaurant business..."

    Those would be the ones who see dollar signs, not realizing that it is their money being sucked into a black hole because they knew not what they were doing.

  5. A very nice post. The memories keyed to smell are some of the most transportive memories I have. There are only a few but when you get them it is like being there in that moment long ago.

    1. Exactly. That is exactly what it's like.

      Thanks Cap'n!

  6. There are things, little things, which will bring a flash of memory.

    It's music that does it most often for me. These days that includes mostly wistful reminisces about Paradise Lost, unfortunately. But I SO hear ya!

    Another great place on the water in yer neighborhood is the O Club at the Newport Naval Complex. I've knocked back a few on the deck there in the company of SN2 and family. Thanks for firing off those synapses.

    1. Post a picture if you have them. I thought about taking Ann there 2 weeks ago when we stopped in Newport on our way to Maine but I couldn't believe the Topsider was still there and the admiral's and captain's club was never my haunt....unless I was sailing Mercuries, Rhodes and Shields and we would stop in at the bar in minor sailing attire and dare them to serve us. I think it was the last closed mess I ever went to. A closed mess sounds antediluvian but it was once the nature of the place. One had to be a member. Shades of the military before the second Great War.

    2. Buck - I have been to the O-Club in Newport and the view there is superb. My company used to have functions there. That might still do, we just don't attend anymore. The wife declared them boring (which they are) and said I always drank too much (which I did).

      Still and all, a very nice venue.

    3. Cap'n - A closed mess? Wow, that is antediluvian.

      Sounds very "Newport," if you catch my drift.

    4. @ Curtis: No photos, alas. My visits to Newport were in the pre-digital photography age and I didn't lug the old (film) SLR around with me everywhere I went.

  7. The 1st MAW on the other side of the runway from us at DaNang had a closed Mess. Class A uniform only. Marine pilots, er. "aviators" either had to change out of flt suits or come over to our side to eat/drink at the DOOM Club. (DaNang Officers Open Mess) They also were not 24/hr operation so we would get grunts in from the field at 0230 in full battle rattle with the stench of the swamps, dust & heat, waiting, drinking, eating until the Marines opened up next am so they could shower and change for R&R flights.

    1. Geez, sounds like they took care of their REMFs pretty well. The guys carrying the load? Not so much.


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